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Roads Australia Insider - September 28, 2018


Feds looking for industry input on how to build a more competitive market

The Federal Government has announced it’s commissioning a report to examine how procurement policy and practices can deliver better value for taxpayers and foster the development of expertise and experience in the construction sector.

The Government will work with industry to develop a report to take to the COAG Transport and Infrastructure Council later this year. A series of workshops with industry will be held over the next month.

Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, said last week it was important taxpayers got maximum bang for their buck under the Government's $75 billion, decade-long infrastructure pipeline.

“As an informed investor, the Australian Government is committed to ensuring we deliver value for money for the Australian taxpayer,” Mr McCormack said.

“As our infrastructure program grows, it becomes even more imperative to ensure there is nothing in the current Commonwealth and state payment arrangements hampering a competitive market.

“The community should have confidence the size of the Government's infrastructure investment provides opportunities across the construction supply chain. We know the benefits that can come from fair and reasonable opportunity for Australian businesses to compete for work.”

Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population, Alan Tudge, said the increasing scale and complexity of urban infrastructure projects makes it even more important to get procurement and tendering right.

“As part of the Government's $5.3 billion commitment to build Western Sydney Airport, WSA Co has embarked on a competitive, value-for-money procurement strategy to secure a range of companies to provide design, technical, project management and construction services,” Mr Tudge said.

“The tendering for the first stage of the Western Sydney Airport has been broken down into smaller parts to help encourage more potential bidders to put their names forward to complete the early earth works, including second and third tier providers.”

The Government says discussions with industry will help understand experiences in major procurements and identify the best ways to support local construction contractors to engage on infrastructure projects being funded by the Commonwealth.

RA member the Civil Contractors Federation has welcomed the announcement. CCF says it has long advocated for a more balanced approach to Federal Government procurement policy to recognise the value of more local content, including greater mid-tier civil contractor participation, believing this will result in benefits across local communities.

Survey says Australians prepared to adopt new pricing regime to relieve traffic congestion

A majority of Australians would like to see existing road usage charges, such as fuel excises and vehicle registration fees, replaced with charges more directly linked to the distance and time of day they travel, according to a University of Sydney Business School survey.

However, the strong public support for a new charging system is provided on condition that there is no increase in the total amount paid by travellers.

The quarterly Transport Opinion Survey conducted by the Business School’s internationally recognised Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) found that seven out of ten Australians support the replacement of existing fuel excises with a charge based on distance driven.

Six in ten people surveyed said they would be willing to pay five cents for every kilometre they drive in capital cities during the weekday peak periods in return for removal of registration fees.

An end to registration fees was supported by 70 percent of Victorians while the number was 63 percent in Queensland and South Australia, and 55 percent in New South Wales.

Commenting on the survey results, the Director of the ITLS, Professor David Hensher, said there was clearly a strong desire in the community for something to be done about the cost of road use and the growing amount of traffic congestion in cities.

“The findings suggest that governments will win voter backing for any move away from fixed charges such as registration fees, in favour of a distance-based peak period charge that will reduce traffic congestion while not increasing the cost of motoring,” Professor Hensher said.

The regular TOPS index of transport confidence indicates that Australians are now more confident about the future provision of transport infrastructure and services by local and national authorities than they were in 2015.

The short-term transport confidence index for local transport is now at 85, compared to 63 in March 2018 and 44 in September 2015. The long-term confidence index for Australian transport also increases to 83 from 74 in the first quarter of this year.

TOPS is the only regular national survey (commencing in 2010) to measure public opinion on transport related issues. Read the third-quarter 2018 report.


Victorian regional councils invited to apply for rural road repair funding

The Victorian Government has unveiled a $100 million Fixing Country Roads Program as part of a record $941 million regional roads investment.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, this week announced the opening of the first round of the Program, saying it was not a ‘blank cheque to councils’ but rather came with strict requirements to ensure money was actually spent on local roads.

Projects will include rebuilding deteriorating roads, sealing gravel roads, bridge strengthening, intersection improvements and safety upgrades.

Applications for round one are open until October 15, and successful council projects will be delivered by June 2019.

For more information or to apply visit

Freight plan outlines $5 billion spend for NSW

The NSW Government has this week released its Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023, promising a $5 billion infrastructure investment across the sector to support the growing freight task.

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, says the amount of freight moved through NSW is set to grow by 28 percent to more than 618 million tonnes by 2036.

“To support this, the NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 provides more than 70 initiatives for increasing capacity on the existing network, including building new infrastructure,” she says.

“With freight and logistics contributing more than $180 million to the NSW economy every day, an increasing population and consumer preferences changing, the freight network will face increased future demand.

“This, compounded by a desire to have same-day delivery for online goods, requires government and industry to have the freight network capable of working at full throttle.

“The NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 highlights the government and industry plans for road, rail, air, shipping and pipelines and builds on investment from the 2013 NSW Freight and Ports Strategy.

“Significantly, the plan brings together policy makers, producers, operators, regulators and government allowing for more coordinated and better freight planning.”

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